‘Stella Maris’ by Cormac McCarthy Tops Holds Lists | Book Pulse

Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy leads holds this week. Waterstones names Katy Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men Book of the Year, and Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry, Author of the Year. Lots of year-end lists arrive, including those from Amazon, NYT, LA Times, and Audiofile. Ten LibraryReads and ten Indie Next picks publish this week. People's book of the week is A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney. December’s Costco Connection is out featuring buyer’s pick The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies. Beloved Sesame Street actor and author Bob McGrath has died. 

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Awards & Best of the Year Lists

Katy Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men (Norton), is named Waterstones Book of the Year, and Bonnie Garmus, Lessons in Chemistry (Doubleday), is named the Author of the Year

Audiofile announces the December Earphones Award Winners, and The Best Audiobooks of 2022

Amazon’s Best Books of 2022 is out now

NPR has 8 staff & critic favorites of the year

LA Times releases critics’ year-end lists including The 5 best nonfiction books of 2022, according to Mary Ann Gwinn and The 5 best novels of 2022, according to Mark Athitakis.

Slate's book editor and book critic pick the best titles of the year.

NYT has the best romance novels, best historical fiction, best thrillers, and the best science fiction and fantasy of 2022.

The Washington Post offers the funniest romance books of the year. Plus, “gift ideas for the readers in your life.”

NPR's Fresh Air Weekend features Maureen Corrigan's best books of 2022.

Big Books of the Week

Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf) leads holds this week. The Atlantic reviews, saying "McCarthy has never been better."

Other titles in demand include:

A Hard Day for a Hangover by Darynda Jones (St. Martin’s)

Tom Clancy Red Winter by Marc Cameron (Putnam)

A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley (Knopf)

Night Shift by Robin Cook (Putnam)

These books and others publishing the week of Dec. 5, 2022 are listed in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Librarians and Booksellers Suggest

Ten LibraryReads and ten Indie Next picks publish this week:

Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca (Berkley)

“Fed up with her demanding boss, lawyer Louisa “Lulu” Malone quits her job while visiting a Renaissance Faire. She continues traveling with the Faire, which means spending time with Dex MacLean of the Dueling Kilts musical troupe, who can’t believe Lulu is immune to his charms. Readers will have a hard time putting this rom-com down!"—Brenda O’Brien, Woodridge Public Library, Woodridge, IL

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“Sweet as can be! Well Traveled is a warm, witty romance that will complement any reader’s shelves. Jen DeLuca has hit it out of the park with this one.”—Kailey Fox, Kingfisher Bookstore, Coupeville, WA

A Hard Day for a Hangover by Darynda Jones (St. Martin’s)

“Though her rebellious daughter survived a murder attempt just last week, Sheriff Sunshine Vicram is back on the job. Meanwhile, drama with her longtime crush Levi Ravinder is distracting her from solving a series of crimes involving women going missing in their small town.”—Seanean Shanahan, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, CO

A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley (Knopf)

“In this mystery set during the California gold rush, Eliza Ripple works at a brothel after her husband is killed in a bar fight. When young women start mysteriously disappearing, Eliza and her best friend investigate using sleuthing skills gleaned from Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” For fans of the Kopp Sisters series.”—Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon Public Library, Flemington, NJ

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“An incredibly thought-provoking new novel from Jane Smiley. Her characters are so well drawn out that I felt like I was living the narrative alongside them. The writing is evocative and makes the pages fly. I can't wait to sell this!”—Brooke Beehler, Books Revisited, St. Cloud, MN

The Widowmaker by Hannah Morrissey (Minotaur)

“As the case of Clive Reynolds’s disappearance 20 years ago unfolds, Detective Ryan Hudson discovers a link to his partner's murder. Skillfully woven together, the characters draw readers into a web of lies and deceitful actions that will keep them guessing who is the threat until the end.”—Janet Makoujy, New City Library, New City, NY

Witcha Gonna Do? by Avery Flynn (Berkley)

“This is a very light magical romance. When a witch with no powers curses her witch family, she must work with her hot nemesis to save her family – and the world from domination.”—Lou Ann Shoultz, Mattoon Public Library, Mattoon, IL

The Sunshine Girls by Molly Fader (Graydon House)

“Clara and Abbie are mourning the loss of their mother, BettyKay, when a stranger named Kitty shows up. They attended nursing school, and through diaries and flashbacks, the reader learns about their loves, friendships, and secrets. Well developed characters made this an enjoyable story!”—Debbie Lease, Hillsdale Public Library, Hillsdale, NJ

The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton (Grand Central; LJ starred review)

“As the effects of climate change begin to overwhelm America, we meet Wanda, a girl born during and named after a devastating hurricane. With civilization faltering in the face of mounting challenges, she must learn to live differently. The depiction of climate change and its effects here are bone-chilling, but Wanda’s resilience is inspiring. For fans of Station Eleven.”—James Ludy, New Canaan Library, New Canaan, CT

It is also an Indie Next pick:

“A survivor of a book. In the not-too-distant future, Florida is hurricane central, and Wanda (a hurricane namesake) is in the eye of this story that wraps around you; you’ll hold on for dear life, with everybody else.”—Michelle Bear, Edmonds Bookshop, Edmonds, WA

The Ingenue by Rachel Kapelke-Dale (St. Martin’s)

“Former piano prodigy Saskia returns home after her mother’s death to find her family home has been bequeathed to someone else. Saskia is a believable and tragic figure as she searches for answers to questions that have been years in the making. What makes an ingénue and what destroys her? For fans of My Dark Vanessa.”—Courtenay Reece, Millville Public Library, Millville, NJ

A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson (Berkley)

"Moving back to his parents house after getting fired and dumped feels like failure to MBA graduate Xavier. He believes it is just a matter of time until he rebounds and gets his old life back. Then he meets Logan; chef, musician, father, utterly irresistible, and finds himself having to choose between love and his career dreams. You won't be able to put down this charming small town romance."—Alicia Ahlvers, Henrico County Public Library, Henrico, VA

The Circus Train by Amita Parikh (Putnam)

“Lena is a polio survivor whose father is an illusionist with a traveling circus. One day she rescues Jewish stowaway Alexandre. Growing to be more than friends with WWII looming, the two are torn apart when disaster strikes. A beautiful story mirroring the horrors of war with the innocence of young love, this is for fans of historical fiction and circus tales like Water for Elephants.”—Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX

Seven additional Indie Next picks publish this week:

Grocery Shopping with My Mother by Kevin Powell (Soft Skull)

“Powell’s return to poetry shines a light on the small details of everyday life — fear, tenderness, and what really matters in this vulnerable world. He does not forget the figures that shaped his world and influenced this album of hope.”—Shannon Alden, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Things We Found When the Water Went Down by Tegan Nia Swanson (Catapult)

“Remarkable. This novel draws a parallel between missing/murdered Indigenous women and violence against the environment — all within a body-on-page-one murder mystery. It’s heavy lifting, but makes a lasting impression.”—Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books, Mendocino, CA

Weightless : Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul by Evette Dionne (Ecco)

“Dionne’s essays cover fat-shaming, plus-size characters, love and sex, the pain of weight loss due to illness, and weight-discrimination legislation. Based both on research and her own experiences, there’s much here to think about.”—Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

Empire of Ice and Stone : The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk by Buddy Levy (St. Martin’s)

“Imagining how it feels to watch your ship crushed by ice and leave you stranded on an ice floe at 30 degrees below zero is terrifying. Full of details, good and not-so-good characters, Levy brings us a great armchair adventure in the Arctic.”—Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

My Darkest Prayer by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron)

“Former deputy Nathan Waymaker agrees to look into the sudden death of a beloved preacher of a Black church in a small Southern town. Cosby is a master of drawing you into a world where every knock on the door sounds like a harbinger of death.”—Alden Graves, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf)

“Cormac McCarthy’s coda to The Passenger feels refreshingly different from, yet fully in-step with its predecessor. Stella Maris certainly makes The Passenger all the more tragic. If you read The Passenger, don’t skip dessert.”—Mary Wahlmeier, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

How Far the Light Reaches : A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler (Little, Brown)

“The only thing more impressive than Imbler’s marine knowledge is their knowledge of themselves. Searching the ocean for new ways of being, they describe personal, familial, and communal trauma with astonishing honesty and lyricism.”—Amy Woolsey, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA



In the Media

The People "Picks" book of the week is A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney (Spiegel & Grau). Also getting attention are Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion by Bushra Rehman (Flatiron), and How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler (Little, Brown). A “New in Nonfiction” section highlights Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon by Kate Andersen Brower (Harper; LJ starred review), Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions by Steve Martin, illus. by Harry Bliss (Celadon), and The Forever Witness: How DNA and Genealogy Solved a Cold Case Double Murder by Edward Humes (Dutton).

The “Picks” section spotlights Spoiler Alert, based on the book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, based on the book by D. H. Lawrence on Netflix, White Noise, based on the book by Don DeLillo, and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, based on the book by Paul Gallico. The year-end special includes Matthew Perry, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing (Flatiron), and Ronnie Spector, Be My Baby (Henry Holt and Co.), both of whom had memoirs released this year. Plus, Jen Hatmaker, Feed These People: Slam-Dunk Recipes for Your Crew (Harvest), and Frankie Gaw, First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese-American Home (Ten Speed), share recipes.


The Washington Post reviews A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny (Minotaur; LJ starred review); “Only a mystery writer of great stylistic range and moral depth could handle the demands of such a shifting — and potentially sensitive — story as this one. Fortunately, as she proves once again, Penny is all that and more.” And, The Essential Dick Gregory by Dick Gregory (Amistad): “is not a comprehensive look at Dick Gregory, but it offers a useful bookend to a public figure who wielded humor with vigor and an astuteness to the American condition perhaps matched only by Mark Twain.”

NYT reviews Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, trans. by Anton Hur (Algonquin): "Chung has assembled a marvelous tasting platter of genres: classic ghost stories, fairy tales, mythic fantasy, science fiction, dark fables, the surreal and unclassifiable horror-adjacent."

The Atlantic reviews Now Is Not the Time To Panic by Kevin Wilson (Ecco): “As if he’s never fully outgrown the hyper-self-consciousness and melodramatic aspirations of adolescence, Wilson’s fiction will have you laughing so much that you’re not prepared for the gut punch that follows.”

The Guardian reviews How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler (Little, Brown): "Imbler is not a memoirist (yet) but a gifted science and nature writer, capable of describing sea creatures with knowledge, originality and supple poeticism."

Vulture reviews A Book of Days by Patti Smith (Random): "A Book of Days provides a striking experience for anyone casually flipping through the pages — with additional layers waiting for those readers who take the time to engage."

NPR reviews “14 celebrity memoirs spilling all the tea.”

Briefly Noted

December’s Costco Connection is out featuring buyer’s pick The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies (HarperCollins).

The Millions releases more “Year in Reading” lists from authors Jessamine Chan, Monica Heisey, and K-Ming Chang.

Popsugar highlights How We Heal: Uncover Your Power and Set Yourself Free (Chronicle Books), and interviews author Alexandra Elle

Paulina Porizkova discusses her bookNo Filter: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful (The Open Field), Ric Okasek and the fashion industry with Salon

USA Today picks five books for the week.

CrimeReads suggests 10 books out this week.

EW shares “9 holiday romance books to make you holly, jolly in 2022.”

“Goblin mode” is the 2022 Oxford word of the year, the first to have been selected by the public. The Guardian has the story. 

"Bernadette Mayer, Poet Who Celebrated the Ordinary, Dies at 77." NYT has an obituary. 

Beloved Sesame Street actor and author Bob McGrath has died. NPR has more on his life. 

Authors on Air

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Netflix Docuseries will release in two volumes, the first on December 8th and the second on December 15th, Variety reports. Prince Harry's memoir, Spare (Random House), is set to publish January 10th.  

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